Review by Choice Review
With this well-researched, clearly written monograph, Mills (Univ. of Strathclyde, UK) extends his analysis that he began in Cannabis Britannica (CH, Sep'04, 42-0549) for 1800-1928, focusing on India. Policies toward marijuana often had little basis in scientific research and rested on motives only loosely related to the consumption of cannabis. It was almost an accident when a League of Nations conference lumped cannabis together with opiates and cocaine as dangerous drugs. Ironically, the system of control that then took shape began when almost nobody in Britain used cannabis. Anti-cannabis laws were useful to ambitious bureaucrats and to police anxious for an excuse to harass troublemakers. Policy toward cannabis can't be separated from what else was happening in Britain; for instance, migration from the nonwhite Empire and the emergence of a confrontational white working-class counterculture. They made cannabis part of racial and cultural politics. The so-called British compromise combined laws against cannabis consumption with lenient enforcement. Mills emphasizes "the difficulties in dealing with cannabis and its consumers that have arisen from them becoming tangled up with the politics of opium and other drugs." Heroin and cocaine have tainted the image of cannabis. Summing Up: Recommended. Most levels/libraries. D. M. Fahey emeritus, Miami University
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